IMF Purchase of Poland for 8.24 Billion Euro
IMF has approved a 8.24 billion Euro loan for the government of Poland.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) has approved a 8.24 billion Euro loan for the government of Poland, the Fund announced in a statement.
“The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today approved a successor two-year arrangement for Poland under the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) with reduced access in an amount equivalent to SDR [special drawing right] 6.5 billion,” the statement said on Friday.
IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said that Polish economic growth remains robust, while unemployment in the country is declining.
“Poland’s institutions and policy frameworks rank favorably among peers,” Furusawa noted.
Poland has been a member of the IMF since 1986 with a quota of about 5,190.8 million Euro.
Turkish Shootdown of Russian Plane Syria
Putin condemns Turkey after Russian warplane downed near Syria border
Vladimir Putin has called Turkey “accomplices of terrorists” and warned of “serious consequences” after a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday morning, the first time a Nato country and Moscow have been involved in direct fire over the crisis in Syria.
The Russian president, speaking before a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Sochi, said the plane had been shot down over Syrian airspace and fell 4km inside Syria. Putin said it was “obvious” the plane posed no threat to Turkey.
“Our military is doing heroic work against terrorism … But the loss today is a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists. I can’t describe it in any other way,” he said. Putin suggested the Turks were shielding Islamic State terrorists from Russian attacks, saying: “Do they want to make Nato serve Isis?”
In Washington, Barack Obama said that Turkey had a right to defend its territory and airspace, but called on all parties to “step back” and ensure the situation does not escalate.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, the US president said that the incident underlined the shortcomings of Russia’s operation in Syria. “The problem has been Russia’s focus on propping up Assad rather than concentrating on Isil,” he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State terror group.
“Russian airstrikes against the moderate opposition only help to bolster Isil. Russia could play a more constructive role it if shifts the focus of its strikes,” he said.
Obama and Hollande both repeated calls for Russia to participate in efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis. “The sooner we agree to a political process, the less likely events like this will be,” Obama said.
Ankara and the Kremlin gave conflicting accounts of the incident, which appears to have occurred in an area near the Turkish-Syrian border straddling Iskenderun and Latakia.
The Turkish military said it scrambled two F-16 fighter jets after a plane entered Turkish airspace in the province of Hatay at 9.20am on Tuesday, warning it to leave 10 times in five minutes before shooting it down.
A government official said: “In line with the military rules of engagement, the Turkish authorities repeatedly warned an unidentified aircraft that they were 15km or less away from the border. The aircraft didn’t heed the warnings and proceeded to fly over Turkey. The Turkish air forces responded by downing the aircraft.
“This isn’t an action against any specific country: our F-16s took necessary steps to defend Turkey’s sovereign territory.”
The Turkish UN ambassador, Halit Cevik, told the UN Security Council in a letter that two planes had flown a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds. “Following the violation, plane 1 left Turkish national airspace. Plane 2 was fired at while in Turkish national airspace by Turkish F-16s performing air combat patrolling in the area,” he wrote.
Russia’s defence ministry, in a series of tweets, confirmed that a Russian Su-24 had been shot down, but insisted the plane had never left Syrian airspace and claimed that fire from the ground was responsible. “At all times, the Su-24 was exclusively over the territory of Syria,” the defence ministry said.
“The Su-24 was at 6,000 metres and preliminary information suggests it was brought down by fire from the ground. The circumstances are being investigated.”
The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said the assessments of other members of the alliance supported the Turkish version of events. “We stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our Nato ally,” he said.
A US official told Reuters initial indications were the Russian jets had been in Turkish airspace for a matter of seconds.
Late on Tuesday, the Russian defence ministry confirmed that one of the two pilots had died, from “fire from the ground”, RIA Novosti reported. The fate of the second pilot remained unclear. There was a further casualty during the rescue operation around the crash site area in Jabal al-Turkman in Syria’s northern Latakia province to find the two pilots.
“To evacuate the Russian pilots a rescue mission of two Mi-8 helicopters was sent to the spot. During the operation, one of the helicopters was hit by fire from the ground and had to perform an emergency landing. One of the marines died,” Lieutenant General Sergei Rutskoi of the Russian defence ministry told Russian journalists on Tuesday.
The area near where the plane was shot down is the site of continuing clashes between forces loyal to the embattled Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and rebels fighting to overthrow him.
Russia launched a military intervention in October aimed at protecting the areas in western Syria still under control by the regime after nearly five years of civil war. The northern Latakia countryside has seen repeated aerial assaults by both Russian and Syrian air forces.
Tensions between Turkey and Russia have risen over Moscow’s bombing campaign against ethnic Turkmens close to the Turkish border. Turkey has repeatedly expressed concern over the attacks on the Turkmens, a Sunni Muslim minority whom many Turks regard as their kith and kin. Like the Ankara government, the Turkmens oppose Assad’s Alawite regime.
Shortly after the Russian intervention, Turkey warned the Kremlin that it would not tolerate violations of its airspace, after two incidents that prompted consultations with Nato.
Sinan Ülgen, a former Turkish diplomat who is now the chairman of the Edam thinktank in Istanbul, said Tuesday’s incident had been coming for some time.
“There were two airspace violations [in the past few weeks], and after that a very high-level Russian military delegation came to Turkey to talk about it, including a top air force official. They apologised for one of the incidents, saying that in that case the Russian pilot didn’t speak the language. So we thought we had an understanding and solved the problem.
“So it’s a surprise that it happened since that visit,” said Ülgen. “But it’s not a surprise in terms of Russian strategy. Since the intervention the Russians have been testing the Turkish response at its borders and its rules of engagement.
“In this case, the pilot was warned a number of times. First at 13 miles out from the Turkish border, and then at five miles out, which is when Turkish jets scramble. It went past all those thresholds,” he said.
Putin said there would be “serious consequences” for Russia-Turkish relations.
“We have always treated Turkey as a friendly state. I don’t know who was interested in what happened today, certainly not us. And instead of immediately getting in contact with us, as far as we know, the Turkish side immediately turned to their partners from Nato to discuss this incident, as if we shot down their plane and not they ours.”
Turkey opposes Assad and has condemned the Russian intervention for targeting rebels not affiliated with the terror group Islamic State.
The latest incident highlights the grave risks of clashes of arms between the various international forces that have intervened in Syria. A coalition led by the US is conducting an campaign against Isis in the country, and American and Russian officials have worked on ensuring there are no clashes between their forces as they pursue their separate campaigns.
But the shooting down of the Russian plane is an escalation that leaves open the possibility of a clash between a Nato member and Russia, whose intervention shows an increasing assertiveness in international affairs.
• This article was amended on 1 February to remove a reference to an “exchange of fire” when the Russian plane was shot down.